Pickerel Frog

Rana palustris
Pickerel Frog

NPS Photo

Family: Ranidae

Rana palustris

Pickerel Frog

Size: 4.4 to 8.7 cm long (1 ¾" to 3 ½")

General Description: Skin smooth and tan-ish in color, with two rows of dark square-ish blotches down back and similar blotches on the sides. Blotches are typically uneven and may have irregular or curved sides, but are distinctly not circular. Concealed surfaces of hind legs are bright yellow or orange in color. Dorsolateral ridges typically highlighted yellow and extend all the way to the groin. Belly plain whitish (typically northern populations) to mottled or marbled with a darker color (typical of Coastal Plain populations). Light stripe on upper jaw. Younger animals may lack the bright coloration on the concealed portion of their hind legs and may have a metallic luster to their ground color. Young may also have dark color clouding the lower lip.

Reproduction: Breeds March to May.

Habitat: Uses low, dense vegetation near slow moving water and damp areas; streams, swamps, meadows, etc.

Behavior: Nocturnal. Hibernates from October to March or April.

Voice: Calls are steady and low-pitched, described as a snoring or steady croaking sound only lasting 1 or 2 seconds. Males may call while completely underwater. Frogs have two vocal pouches.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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